Read Window: Why speaking publicly starts with skipping canned read

Experts and novices alike debate on end as to what makes a great public speaker and relative to the latter, how exactly to get through a speech without losing your composure and thus never asked again to speak publicly for a work function or just in general.

You can argue that public speaking is an acquired taste and something that can be learned but not necessarily enjoyed by the masses. The old sentiment still rings true today that public speaking is feared more so than death, suggesting that public speaking might not quite the welcomed skill.

But those in business and particularly in the type of craft that requires you to be fluent in how you speak and come across to not only coworkers but potential clients when sales and revenue are on the line will stand behind the fact that, while they might not like it, public speaking is a make or break endeavor.

Even if you’re still learning the craft that is public speaking or if you’re proficient at it already, you still have some iron clad tips, rules of the “hows” and “whys”, which allow you to perfect what you’re trying to accomplish.

One of the more overlooked means to learn how to speak publicly and do so effectively is forgetting about what is on the paper you’re holding word for word and instead treating them like what they are: notes.

Mistakes abound when you believe that your best friend are those note cards or pieces of paper that accompany you to the stage when you’re about to deliver your speech. Having them certainly can and should be viewed as a security blanket at best, but you should steer away from reading while you’re speaking.

The effects of that negatively are twofold: you’ll almost certainly lose the audience, and more so you’ll not really do much to engage or impress with your ability to drive home a point and instead the speech will feel canned, forced and hardly able to sway anyone one way or another.

Those same notes and reading also should be devoid of numbers, stats or that sort of overkill. You are expected to know your subject, practice and look like the speech at hand is effortless. Throwing in a few numbers to drive home a point is perfectly fine, but reading them one after another allows them to lose their intention.

You’ll always find no matter adept you become at speaking publicly that you’ll always have some butterflies rumbling in your stomach, but don’t rely on simply reading to save yourself from the nerves.